Birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Nested season had already started for the great blue herons at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Some were just starting to work on nests, some were still showing off for their mate and some were already sitting on eggs.

Resident pelicans.

The permanently injured resident white morph great blue heron was showing his breeding colors in his beak.  The colors were really pretty against his white neck.

A caracara yelling at something. It’s rare to see a caracara in the Tampa bay area so this is a new bird for a lot of people They can usually be found more inland in central Florida. unfortunately this bird is here because he was injured out in the wild and lost a wing.

An eagle with a missing wing.

A wild phoebe flew right in front of me and posed so I had to take his picture.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

A walk around Lake Morton

The Lakeland swans get fed at Lake Morton by the city through stations around the lake. The ducks can’t reach the station but they hang close by hoping to get some droppings.

In the winter you can usually find a few ring billed ducks with the swans.

The lake is mainly full of mute swans but there is also a pair of black neck swans. There are several fully gray swans that people think they are a hybrid of the mute and black swans.

White pelicans were circling around the lake during my recent walk.

Someone was feeding the ducks. People come to feed the ducks and swans but it’s the ibis that steal the food. A few ibis show up and all of sudden tons of them come flying across the lake to get in on the free food. They started attacking the people so they got in their car and left.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

More of the same at Circle B Bar Resesrve.

Red shoulder hawks are everywhere. Soon they’ll be nesting.

Same for the great blue herons.

The usual turtles and gators.

A few white pelicans fly overhead.

Not sure what this is but I think it’s a cocoon of some kind. How did this bug get those sticks so perfect?

The marsh is full of bur marigolds in November and December.

The “snow” birds have arrived

I had heard the white pelicans had come down to south St. Petersburg for the winter. They had been recently sighted at Fort Desoto near the north beach tip. The big white pelicans only spend part of the winter in the area and leave in early spring. I headed down in mid-November to look for them and after looking everywhere for them I was about to leave. I stopped at the East beach turnaround before leaving to see if any new shorebirds were there. I noticed something white behind the tall overgrown mangroves. There in a small lagoon, hidden behind the mangroves was a small flock of them. They were busy feeding and didn’t notice me standing in the mangroves across the lagoon. I watched these big beautiful graceful birds feeding together. They would fly in and together, a small group would swim around scooping up the fish. I’m hoping I see them again before they leave.

Beautiful birds and a beautiful morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Only in the winter

White pelicans are true “snow birds”. You only see them in Florida in the winter and even then it’s rare to see them. For the last several years there have been a few hanging around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland (also know for their resident swans that live on the lake). I had seen a few earlier in the winter but when I stopped by to see if any of the swans had babies yet in mid-March, the lake was full of white pelicans. They were busy fishing and didn’t notice me at all standing on the side of the lake.

They seemed to be herding the fish into the vegetation and then scooping up the fish. You would think that after doing this all day they would eat all of the fish in this little lake. I went back several weeks later and all of the white pelicans were gone. I”m assuming they moved on to another pond or left to head up north. I realized when I cropped that last shot that there was a northern shoveler swimming in front of them.

Many of the pelicans were busy preening or flying around.

Pink cotton candy and marshmellow fluff in the marsh.

Lots of spoonbills in the marsh mixed in with the ibis.

Must have been some good snacks in the marsh this morning I was at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January.

Lots of white pelicans flying overhead but none were landing.

A great blue heron taking off.

I’ve only seen 2 blue wing teals this winter.

This sandhill crane was standing on a nest out in the marsh. I have since heard that this nest did not work but there are other crane couples out there nesting. It would be fun to have crane babies this spring.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Pretty in pink and white

Permanently injured white pelicans that live at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are beautiful birds.

Getting their morning snacks from a park ranger.

They have a white morph great blue heron missing a wing that lives there.

Wood stork also getting breakfast.

Pink fluff balls (spoonbills) all lined up.

You can get up close to all of the beautiful birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park just north of Tampa. The sanctuary is home to a lot of injured birds.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup